ISSUE 3  |  Budget Remodels

8 Essentials: Smoke Alarms with Smart Designs

January 17, 2017 8:00 AM

BY Janet Hall

On the market recently: a slew of design-worthy and unobtrusive smoke alarms, from the popular Nest to new crowd-funded designs. Here are our favorite attractive (and high-tech) options.

Kupu Photoelectric Smoke Alarm Koskinen

Above: Kupu Photoelectric Smoke Alarm by Finnish designer Harri Koskinen for Jalo Helsinki has a soft fabric cover and is affixed to the wall or ceiling surface with 3M tape (no need for screws or a power drill). There are no tiny push buttons, rather the whole external casing acts as a press switch for silencing false alarms and testing the performance of the product. Battery-powered (no hardwiring, which means it can be used in countries with different electric voltage); $26.20 at the Finnish Design Shop.

Kupu Smoke Alarm White

Above: Winner of the 2011 Red Dot Design Award, it is also available in chrome, gray, pink, and light gray.

Nest Smoke Detector

Above: Perhaps the most well-known smoke detector to come on the market recently is the Nest Protect, which uses a voice, rather than alarm sounds, and also sends alerts to your phone. It’s available in black or white, battery-powered or wired, for $99.

Kidde Silhouette Smoke Detector

Above: The Kidde Silhouette Low-Profile Smoke Alarm protrudes a mere half inch from the ceiling once installed. It contains a rechargeable battery that runs off central electricity and lasts the lifetime of the unit. Hardwiring required; $115.21 via Amazon.

Gira Smoke Alarm

Above: The Gira Dual Q Smoke Alarm uses two detection processes for smoke and fire detection and has a red LED ring for a visual alarm. See Gira for more information.

Chick-A-Dee Smoke Detector

Above: Designed for a child’s room (and inspired by the American Black-Capped Chickadee bird), the battery-operated Chick-a-Dee Smoke Alarm by Dutch designer Louise van der Veld is $80 via the Institute of Contemporary Art shop (currently sold out).
Cavius Smoke Detector

Above: At 1.5 inches across (the size of a golf ball), Cavius is “the world’s smallest” smoke alarm. A collaboration between New Zealand and Danish designers, it is currently only available in New Zealand.

First Alert Atom Smoke Alarm

Above: The nearly-identical Atom Smoke Alarm by First Alert is available in a variety of finishes and is only 2.5 inches wide; from $22.59.

Birdi Smoke Detector

Above: Currently in the preorder phase is San Francisco–based Birdi, a sleek design that monitors air quality, carbon monoxide, and even weather, in addition to smoke and fire, but minimizes the number of false alarms. Preorder for $119.99.

Be sure to check your local fire regulations to ensure your smoke alarms are up to code.

N.B.: This post is an update; the original story ran on July 12, 2012.